National Broadband Plan Could Be Boon to Health Care

Lora Bentley

The Federal Communications Commission unveiled its National Broadband Plan last week, complete with a Web site. The plan has already met with resistance from, among others, broadcasters who oppose the auctioning of television airwaves to wireless Internet providers.

 

Ambitious though it is, the plan will benefit business, and it may just improve health care, too, according to The Mercury News. A plan that offers a 100-megabit connection to 100 million U.S. homes could make remote medicine a reality, writer Larry Magid says.

 

In the plan's 25 pages on health care, the FCC suggests the creation of a health care infrastructure fund to provide even rural hospitals with adequate connectivity to provide remote care. Moreover, the plan reiterates the call for hospitals and doctor's offices use electronic medical records systems that would allow patients and their health care providers access to relevant records wherever the patient and the doctor are located.

 

Magid points out:

National adoption of electronic health records could save more lives by alerting physicians and patients of dangerous drug allergies and drug interactions when the doctor is entering the prescription. According to one study, this alone could result in a net savings of as much as $371 billion for hospitals and $142 billion for physicians over the next 15 years.


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